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Equinox Health Club Not Liable for Attack on Loud-Mouthed Spinner

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Jan 07, 2009 | 0 Comments

New York County Supreme Court Justice Carol R. Edmead has issued a decision in the case of the spin class goofball who wouldn't shut up when asked and got his just reward. You may remember reading about this incident back in August of 2007.  Plaintiff and another patron were in the same spin class in an Upper East Side Equinox, and could not get along.  Plaintiff was purportedly exceedingly vocal about his enjoyment of the exercise, which the patron found disturbing.  Ultimately, that patron walked over to plaintiff's spin bicycle, picked it up (with plaintiff still seated on it) and smashed it through the sheetrock wall.

Plaintiff sued Equinox, claiming it was negligent in failing to stop the altercation before it became violent,  and in failing to remove the patron from the class prior to his initiation of the violence, but after he had demonstrated his violent propensities.  In response to the defendant's motion to dismiss, the Court found that Equinox had no notice of such an incident, in that there had been no such behavior exhibited by the same patron or anyone else.  Moreover, the Court noted that “a third party's cursing or verbal tirades are not sufficient to put a premises owner on notice of a possible physical assault.” 

Plaintiff additionally claimed that Equinox negliegently failed to call the police after the altercation.  The Court found that there was no legal duty to do so, and that even if there had been, defendant's failure to do so was not proximately related to plaintiff's injuries.  Finally, plaintiff claimed that Eqinox had engaged in negligent hiring, resulting in the failure to stop the incident before it turned violent.  The  Court was similarly dismissive of this theory, noting that recovery on such a theory requires proof that the employer was on notice of the tortious propensities of the wrongdoing employee, which was not established here.

The motion by Equinox to dismiss was granted in its entirety.

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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